Suggested Audio Jukebox:
 Bruce Springsteen “What Love Can Do”
 Phil Collins “In The Air Tonight”
 Genesis “Land of Confusion”
 Whitney Houston “How Will I Know”
 Bruce Springsteen “Dancing In The Dark”
 Genesis “In Too Deep”
 Huey Lewis & The News “Hip To Be Square”
I’m incredibly peppy right now. You may have seen me excitable on numerous occasions before now but I’m guessing perhaps never quite as eager a beaver as I am currently. Indeed, I have barely been able to remain seated for the past ten hours and I suspect most of the other passengers have pretty much had enough of me by this point. You see, ordinarily you can simply walk away from anyone you deem fruit cake material but it’s not quite so elementary when cooped up on a long-haul flight across the Atlantic ocean. Had I mentioned it’s a red-eye? That’s right, we set out at 10pm and have been airborne for over seven hours now. While everyone else has been attempting to grab a few winks, I’ve been more animated than Wile E. Coyote at an ACME convention and I fear this has done nothing whatsoever to endear me to my fellow flyers. Even the air hostesses are giving me a wide berth which should be a bone of contention with me as I have been waiting for over three hours for my glass of Chardonnay. That should have compromised my chirpy mood right? Wrong, nothing can bring me down as I’m just a couple of hours from meeting my own personal Jesus.
We all have people we look up to and mine happens to be an absolute doozy. This is no flash in the pan either, we’re talking fully fledged hero-worship here and there is nothing this man could do or say that would be wrong in my book. Ordinarily it would be fair to assume that, no matter who we are, our shit stinks like the next guy. Not this fellow, I’m assured that his bowel movements are cherry-scented delights and plan to request he sign one for me and slip it into my hand luggage for the long flight home as a token of my time with him. I was way beyond made up when he replied to my correspondence and damn near relinquished my bladder when he agreed to meet up. We should be landing in the next ten minutes or so and are just approaching our final descent so I guess the time has come to introduce you to my idol right? Hell, this is exciting. His name…is Patrick Bateman.
Just saying the name makes me desire to punch the air with my fist. On the surface, Patrick has all the characteristics of a human being: blood, flesh, skin, hair; all are very much present and correct at first glance and not a single one of them out-of-place. However, dig beneath that debonaire veneer and you will struggle to locate a single, clear, identifiable emotion, except for greed and disgust that is. Patrick is an expert in putting on a front and concealing his contempt exceedingly well. However, something is happening inside of him that few could ever dream to understand and his mask of sanity has been prone to slip on occasion. By day he is a highly successful Wall Street broker and one of seven vice presidents for Pearce and Pearce. He dresses snappily in a two button Armani suit with a conservative silk tie and keeps up appearances so that nobody suspects that he is, in fact, a fucking nutbag.
You see, it’s his nocturnal pursuits that interest me as he has a tendency to release any pent-up angst in a manner many would find disagreeable. Not averse to feeding ATM machines stray cats and introducing any high-class hookers not deemed quite blonde enough to his fully fueled Louis Vuitton chainsaw, his nightly blood lust has to be seen to be believed.
So this makes him a wrong ‘un right? The wrongest ‘un The Big Apple has ever seen no less and that translates to more appealing to me. Let’s not get this twisted, I happen to be rather fond of felines and would ordinarily refrain from stuffing them into holes in the wall. That said, if the ATM in question was paying out, then what’s one less moggy in the world? As for those under par escorts, it’s not like they don’t get shown a good time before he slices them into pâté. Patrick is quite the host with the most you see and it isn’t unheard of for him to break open a $500 bottle of vino and allow them to rinse off all that New York grunge in his bath tub before getting down to business. Said business is no less charitable as he donates a length of his pocket Patrick and has a canny knack for reaching even the hardest to reach places. Of course, there has to be something in it for him as he is the one paying after all. Thus, his full-length mirror affords him the one man audience he craves as he pounds those pussies and also acts as a reminder of how devastatingly handsome he is.
The word Adonis springs to mind as his six-pack is tighter than Keyser Söze’s alibi and those biceps have a personality all of their very own. Sometimes it all gets too much and he has been known to blow himself a kiss while riding these rancid ponies like Seabiscuit. That said, the fact remains that dirty blonde is not what was stated in the brochure and there are only so many favors he is prepared to do before getting down to the real nitty-gritty.
Granted, when he sees a pretty girl walking down the street, one part of him wants to take her out, talk to her, be real nice and sweet and treat her right. The other, however, is the one revving the chainsaw. Call girls don’t deserve the former privilege and, therefore, he skips directly to the latter. Should they get the foolish notion into their hollow little domes to attempt a rousing eleventh hour escape, then they will soon learn why that rigorous daily exercise routine serves him so well. All those stomach crunches simply have to pay dividends and indeed they do as he hunts down his wantaway prey and introduces them to thousands of regimented teeth with no intention of being whitened.
Guess what? The eagle has landed. An hour in customs is all that stands between me and my icon now. Soon we shall be at Dorsia as Patrick informed me that he has made a reservation. Of all the restaurants in Manhattan, Dorsia is by far the most reputable and only those who are regarded as the highest of flyers could ever dream of snagging themselves a table there. The plan is to have a slap up three-course meal, shoot the shit some, then head on back to his swanky apartment at the Carlyle Hotel to listen to some Phil Collins. Had I mentioned that Patrick has a thing for Phil’s music? Not that he has anything against Genesis and, indeed, he’s a lifelong fan of their work but his solo career seems to be more commercial and therefore more satisfying, in a narrower way. Indeed, In the Air Tonight is a personal favorite of his and just so happens to be one of mine too so common ground shouldn’t be an issue. Of course, I shall be making sure that he’s not wearing his rain coat while we hum its catchy tune as he has been known to get a little erratic at times. But I’m willing to take that chance just to bask in his glorious glow for a few precious hours.
While we’re all incandescent, I’m also hopeful that he will invite Jean over for a night-cap. Jean is his personal secretary and a timid little wallflower if ever there was one. Patrick isn’t known for his willpower but there’s something about this particular sweet thing that grants her immunity from his pre-loaded nail gun. Have you guessed what it is yet? Perhaps it is the fact that she bears an uncanny resemblance to Chloë Sevigny. If you were to ask me to list five vaginas I desire to pitch a tent inside, then I’d have my pegs into Chloë’s labia before you could say “that’s a very fine chardonnay you’re not drinking Chloë” and likely never be seen hide nor hair of again. Jean is a dead ringer and, moreover, her wide-eyed innocence sets her apart from the others. New York Matinee called her “a playful but mysterious little dish” and I make them right you know. I wonder if she’s a fan of Phil Collins? I can see us in the air tonight, Patrick trunk side pounding her ovaries whilst winking at himself in his full-length mirror, and me on top soil duties, reading her perky breasts a bedtime story. Then, while she cleans his kitchen thoroughly and from top to bottom, I’ll offer to cancel his reservation with Cliff Huxtable at the Four Seasons as a gesture of goodwill.
Anyhoots, the time is fast approaching and I would hate to be any more than fashionably late as I’m fully aware that a cool cat like Patrick Bateman has plenty of more important things to do than entertaining an Englishman in New York. Time for a last-minute check methinks. I have my business cards right here in my trouser pocket and opted against having them watermarked as I hear that being upstaged is a particular bugbear of his and he takes great pride in being leading alpha. The last thing I want is to come across as overly competitive, although I am also aware that he has no time for tumbling dickweeds. Thus, my cards are tasteful, with raised lettering, and a subtle off-white coloring. But no watermark. Here, I think I have one handy.
I said no fucking watermarks! I’m also fairly assured that his haircut is slightly better than mine and the Valentino suit I’m wearing is so last season. Granted, my overnight bag is Jean Paul Gaultier but I’m hoping he’ll let that one slide as I’m not here to pose a threat. Heaven forbid. All I wish is to share a little of his oxygen, soak in a dash of his chic, and perhaps run my tongue along his shirt collar if he would be so kind as to facilitate such a slathering.
Okay then, here we are. The famous Dorsia and every bit as luxurious as I had imagined it to be. The maître d’ is looking at me with downright contempt which suggests I have come to precisely the right place. Little does he know that I have every right to be here tonight rubbing shoulders with the most distinguished go-getters in the entire state. There’s no sign of Patrick yet although I have spotted Donald Kimball at table thirteen and there is no mistaking his pearly whites. Kimball is a New York detective and the very epitome of smiling assassin, which makes him something of a thorn in Patrick’s side as he has apparently been sniffing around his coordinates for weeks now. You think Patrick is bothered in the slightest by such unwanted attention?
Is he fuck, unflappable would be the word and he happens to be rather adept at keeping up charades. Kimbell hasn’t got shit on him and he knows it. Nevertheless, that’s some grill he’s got on him. Here, take a look at those tombstones and tell me Mr. Grinch isn’t alive and well but don’t make it obvious as the last thing we want is to show up on his putrid radar.
I know right? The last time I saw a set of nimbus gnashers like that lot were compacted into the face of Pamela Voorhees and we all know she was not to be trusted. Best be keeping my head down as alerting the sentinel will hardly set the best opening impression with our guest of honor. I’ll just sit here patiently and order myself a glass of Château Musar just to freshen the palate some before his arrival. All this anticipation has got me feeling somewhat parched and currently there’s more moisture in Gandhi’s right espadrille than my fast-dehydrating throat. Well tickle me pink and call me Gertrude Carruthers III, here he comes. There is no mistaking Patrick Bateman and nary have I witnessed an entrance so utterly enigmatic. Part of me desires to throw myself at his feet and declare myself unworthy but I have to keep my shit together for the time being as he will likely frown on any impromptu exhibitions of hero-worship. Playing it cool is key here, not letting on that I would gladly handwash his linen for a calendar year just for thirty sweet seconds in his personal space. Our opening exchange is critical here and will set the tone for the foreseeable so there is absolutely no margin for error. Here goes.
“Patrick? Patrick Bateman? Is that you?”
“No Richard; it’s not me. You’re mistaken.”
That shit never gets old man. I’d say that went rather well wouldn’t you? Judging by his cold, emotionless look, I’m mindful that the jury is very much out at this point. The last thing I need right now is an uncomfortable silence but, mercifully, the service here is first-rate and here comes our waiter right on cue to take our order.
“Welcome gentlemen. Our pasta this evening is squid ravioli in a lemon grass broth with goat cheese profiteroles, and I also have an arugula Caesar salad. For entrée this evening, I have swordfish meatloaf with onion marmalade, rare roasted partridge breast in raspberry coulis with a sorrel timbale. Would you like to hear today’s specials?”
“I’ve got this Patrick. Not if you want to keep your spleen”
Nailed it. If that didn’t impress him then I’m evidently barking up the wrong tree. Time to build on any early momentum and get things rolling.
“How are you this fine evening Patrick?”
“I’m just a happy camper! Rockin’ and a-rollin’!”
Encouraging signs. It would appear that my wonderfully biting outburst has endeared me to my illustrious leader, while reminding him that I have done my homework in the very same breath.
“So how has your day been treating you thus far my good man?”
“Just dandy thank you. Went to see Oh Africa Brave Africa at the New Amsterdam”
“And how did that work out for you?”
“It was a laugh riot”
“I’ll have to check it out while I’m here. Love me a good musical”
“You have a keen ear for music then?”
“Two of them yes. I’m also rather partial to commercial pop”
“How fascinating. Tell me, did you know that Whitney Houston’s debut LP, called simply Whitney Houston had four number one singles on it? Did you know that, Richard?”
Curses. I was prepared to drop Huey Lewis & The News into conversation but, God rest her soul, Whitney never really did it for me. I simply mustn’t let on as this could have dire repercussions for our blossoming brotherhood should he see through my flimsy ruse. Actually, this song is admittedlly something of a cherry delight.
“Whitney Houston. Yes. What an album that is. Was listening to it on the cab ride from the airport funnily enough”
Don’t overdo it. If he calls my bluff, it’s rain coat time.
“It’s hard to choose a favorite among so many great tracks, but “The Greatest Love of All” is one of the best, most powerful songs ever written about self-preservation, dignity. Its universal message crosses all boundaries and instills one with the hope that it’s not too late to better ourselves. Since, Elizabeth, it’s impossible in this world we live in to empathize with others, we can always empathize with ourselves. It’s an important message, crucial really. And it’s beautifully stated on the album”
“Indeed it is. And you’re right. “The Greatest Love of All” is one of the most beautiful and poignant songs I’ve ever had the privilege of listening to on habitual loop”
“Pray tell. What line speaks to you the most personally?”
“Erm. You know. That would have to be the titular gambit. Sang with so much emotion and, as you said so eloquently, dignity”
Phew. May have just dodged a bullet there.
“You know, suddenly I’m not feeling all that hungry. What do you say we blow this pop stand and head on back to my new condo for a dash of pop trivia?”
“Does Ivana Trump shit in a fine porcelain latrine?”
“I like your style Richard. Tell you what, I’ll grab the cheque. This one’s on me. Garçon?”
“I trust everything was to your liking sir?”
“I’ve had better and removing the pork loin with lime Jell-O from your menu…BIG mistake. Now you have yourself a holly jolly Christmas you hear”
Well, I have to say that I didn’t see this one coming. It appears that Patrick has recently moved and his new apartment overlooks Central Park which suggests that it is far more expensive than the old one and that wasn’t exactly shabby.
“You have a really nice place here. How much did you pay for it?
“Well, actually, that’s none of your business, Richard. But I can assure you, it certainly wasn’t cheap. Acquired it from one of my associates at P&P. Real asshat. Goes by the name of Paul Allen”
“I know that schmuck. Jesus, someone should do the whole world a favor and plant a woodsman’s axe in his stupid cranium”
“Wanna hear a secret?”
“I killed Paul Allen. And I liked it”
“It’s a dirty job right?”
“You’re not shocked?”
“Shocked that someone didn’t do it sooner. So what was the clincher?”
“Well, he kept mistaking me for this dickhead Marcus Halberstram. It seems logical because Marcus also works at P&P and in fact does the same exact thing I do and he also has a penchant for Valentino suits and Oliver Peoples glasses. Marcus and I even go to the same barber, although I have a slightly better haircut”
“Sounds like he had to go”
“You haven’t heard the half of it. You see, Paul was impervious to the genius that is Huey Lewis & The News. Tell me Richard, do you like Huey Lewis & The News?”
This is my chance to dazzle him as I happen to be rather fond of Huey and the boys.
“Personally, I found their early work a little too new wave for my tastes, but when Sports came out in ’83, I think they really came into their own, commercially and artistically. The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost. He’s been compared to Elvis Costello, but I think Huey has a far more bitter, cynical sense of humor. In ’87, Huey released this, Fore, their most accomplished album. I think their undisputed masterpiece is “Hip to be Square”, a song so catchy, most people probably don’t listen to the lyrics. But they should, because it’s not just about the pleasures of conformity, and the importance of trends, it’s also a personal statement about the band itself”
“Couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s like you’re in my head”
“I get you Patrick. There is nothing you could say that would shock me”
“Okay let’s put that to the test. I like to dissect girls. Did you know I’m utterly insane?”
“Aren’t we all? I mean, we’re one and the same you and I. Like you, my pain is constant and sharp, and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. In fact, I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape”
Jehova H. Did I just say that shit?
“I think the time has come Richard”
“A hand job? It would be both a pleasure and an honor to perform such an act”
“No you Silly Billy. I’m talking about “In Too Deep”, the fourth track on the 1986 Genesis album Invisible Touch. In my opinion, it’s the most moving pop song of the 1980s, about monogamy and commitment. Their lyrics are as positive and affirmative as anything I’ve heard in rock”
“I totally agree”
Actually, while In Too Deep is indeed a rather uplifting number, I was kind of hoping he’d suggest Turn It On Again. That said, I’m not about to split hairs with the great Patrick Bateman.
“We also have company on the way over”
“Sounds intriguing. It wouldn’t be your secretary Jean would it?”
Please say yes.
“No. She would just end up bringing us down”
Speak for yourself buddy.
“You see, she’s just so fucking sad! No, I have something far better lined up for this evening’s entertainment”
“I’m all ears my good man”
“Ordered us a couple of prostitutes from the agency. I specifically requested blondes as the last pair of wenches they sent were more of the dirty blonde variety and seemingly unable to perform even the simplest of tasks”
“Wash the dishes before leaving?”
“Clean their vaginas. Worse still, when one of them, Christy I think her name was, got down on her knees so that the other one could see her asshole, she knocked over a glass of my finest chardonnay and ruined my Brink & Campman rug”
“Bitch. I trust they knocked that off their asking price?”
“I just cut them up into chunks instead”
“I should think so. No less than they deserved if you ask me”
“Long story short. The agency wouldn’t dare to get it wrong a second time or else there’ll be hell to pay”
I’m more than a little trepidatious right now. You see, I’m not about to cast judgement on Patrick for a couple of harmless homicides as, what he does in his spare time, is his business and no woman should come between a man and his $3000 Costa rug. However, should the agency fail to furnish his basic needs, then it may be about to get decidedly messy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m itching to observe the old stray cat in an ATM trick and would be only too glad to hear about his exploits through way of facsimile.
But I’m just not sure I’m cut out for being an accessory to first-degree murder. He may have pulling the wool over Detective Kimbell’s eyes down to pat, but bare-faced lying has never been my strong suit and I’d likely be so mesmerized by his well varnished teeth, that I’d drop a bollock and land us both in hot water. Much as I like Patrick, getting on his wrong side would be downright ill-advised. Look at Paul Allen, his chief crime was not knowing the words to “Hip To Be Square” and his penance was being chopped into human firewood. No thank you very much.
“That’ll be them now. Time to get this party started Richard”
The time for procrastination is at an end. Patrick is already making his way to the door and we’re about to find out how keen the agency are on the supply and demand of minor detail front. The tension is excruciating. My poor heart feels fit to burst in my chest at any given moment and, should Patrick request that I get down on my knees and show my asshole right now, then his Brink & Campman rug would be christened a second time. Here goes nothing. He opens the door to reveal…
One dirty blonde and one fucking redhead. Moreover, one of them appears to be sporting a lazy eye and the other acute club foot. Heavens above, is the one on the right’s left arm afflicted with stage three polio? It is you know, I’ve seen Slim Jims with more meat on them.
“Patrick. Excuse me for butting in but I just remembered that I have to return some videotapes”
“But the store closed at 11.30”
Fiddlesticks. He’s got me there. What would the great Patrick Bateman say in this situation? I know, he’ll love this one.
“I’m leaving. I’ve assessed the situation, and I’m going”
“If you must. Hold on, I’ll walk you out”
“That’s okay. You have your hands full already”
“No really, I insist. Tell you what, it’s raining pretty hard outside. Bear with me and I’ll just go grab my raincoat”
[GULP to the power of 1986]
Must’ve caught me swiping his deep pore cleanser lotion. Suddenly the catchy sounds of Hip To Be Square aren’t seeming quite as infectious.